This comes from the Merton Institute today. Thomas Merton's use of the word "Negro" reminds me of Dick Gregory, who did not seem to have a problem with the word. He is also astonished that in his lifetime, 75 years, a Black man may be president. It clearly is something he never considered as to possibility in his growing up as a Black in the south.
Was in Louisville today and had dinner at the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The moral beauty of the place, the authentic beauty of Christianity which has no equal. The beauty of the Church is the charity of her daughters.
The Good Mother, whom I shall never forget: her transparency, unearthliness, simplicity, of no age, a child, a mother, like the Blessed Virgin--as if no name could apply to her, that is, no name known to anyone but God. Yet more real than all the unreal people in the rest of the world.
The old people. The old man playing the piano and the old man dancing--or rather turning about stamping the floor with one foot, unaware that he was no longer able to move the muscles that would make for tap- dancing. And the old man at the piano after all playing something far more alive than rock 'n roll (though all askew).
The old negro people: the sweet, dignified negro lady who had worked for Father Greenwell; the old, beat, heavy negro lady with wisps of white beard sunk in her dream, her blankness, slowly coming out of it when spoken to. The lady who had both legs cut off. The little girl lady who made the speech in the dining room; the old lady with the visor cap on. And the golden wedding couple.
The sisters above all and the little girls in blue and white uniforms, the "auxiliaries" and their song about playing the piano, the viola and the triangle. The dark eyes of the girl going Thursday to be a postulant in Baltimore. Sweet, good people.
Thomas Merton. Turning Toward the World. Edited by Victor A. Kramer (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997): 31-32.
Thought for the Day
Now I have the prayers of the poor, the strong, merciful, invincible prayers of the poor behind me, and in me, changing my whole life and my whole outlook on life.
Turning Toward the World: 32.